Sweetbread Salad Recipe

The Sweetbread Salad is a refreshing and unique dish that combines the tender and delicate flavors of sweetbreads with the freshness of vegetables and the creaminess of mayonnaise. This recipe dates back to the 19th century and has its roots in European cuisine, particularly French and English. Sweetbreads, which are the culinary term for the thymus or pancreas glands of animals, were considered a delicacy in these regions and were often used in elegant and sophisticated dishes.

Fun fact: Despite its name, sweetbreads are not sweet at all. The name is derived from the Old English word "swetbroed," which means "sweet bread" and refers to the tenderness and mild flavor of these glands. Sweetbreads are commonly sourced from calves, but they can also come from pigs and lambs.

Now, let's dive into the recipe and learn how to prepare this tantalizing Sweetbread Salad!

- 2 cucumbers
- 1 pair of sweetbreads or calf's brains
- 1 bunch of celery (if available)
- 1 can of French peas
- Salt, to taste
- Mayonnaise, for the dressing
- Lettuce leaves, for serving


1. Start by preparing the cucumber shells. Take the cucumbers and cut them lengthwise. Gently scrape out the inside using a spoon, creating hollow shells to serve the salad in.

2. Sprinkle salt generously inside the cucumber shells, then allow them to sit for a few minutes. This will help draw out excess moisture and enhance the flavor.

3. Squeeze the salted cucumber flesh, extracting as much liquid as possible. Set aside this liquid for later use.

4. Next, it's time to prepare the sweetbreads. Wash them thoroughly under running water to remove any impurities. Place them in a pot of boiling water and cook until they are tender. This process usually takes about 15-20 minutes.

5. Once the sweetbreads are cooked, remove them from the boiling water and immediately plunge them into a bowl of cold water. This will stop the cooking process and make it easier to handle them.

6. After cooling, skim any excess fat or impurities from the sweetbreads. Chop them finely into small pieces using a sharp knife.

7. If you can get your hands on a bunch of celery, chop it finely as well. The celery adds a delightful crunch to the salad. However, if celery is not available, you can omit it or substitute it with other crunchy vegetables like bell peppers or green onions.

8. Drain the French peas from the can and add them to the chopped sweetbreads and celery.

9. Remember the salted cucumber liquid we set aside in step 3? Mix it with the sweetbreads, celery, and peas. This flavorful liquid will not only enhance the taste but also bind the ingredients together.

10. Season the mixture with salt according to your taste preference. You can also add additional herbs and spices like black pepper or a dash of lemon juice for added brightness.

11. In a separate bowl, prepare the mayonnaise dressing. You can either use store-bought mayonnaise or make your own at home. The creamy and tangy mayonnaise will bring all the flavors together.

12. Combine the mayonnaise with the sweetbread mixture, ensuring that it is evenly coated. The dressing should be creamy and well-balanced in flavor.

13. Spoon the sweetbread salad into the cucumber shells, filling them generously. Make sure to pack the mixture tightly so that it holds its shape.

14. Place the filled cucumber shells in the refrigerator to chill. This will not only firm up the salad but also enhance its taste.

15. Before serving, line a serving plate with fresh lettuce leaves. The crisp and vibrant lettuce acts as a bed for the Sweetbread Salad, adding an extra layer of freshness.

16. Once chilled, carefully place the filled cucumber shells on the lettuce leaves, arranging them attractively on the plate.

17. Serve the Sweetbread Salad immediately, allowing your guests to enjoy the delightful combination of flavors and textures.

Fun fact: Sweetbreads are exceptionally versatile and can be used in various other dishes as well. They can be sautéed, grilled, or even deep-fried to create crispy and flavorful appetizers. Sweetbread pâtés, stews, and risottos are also popular in many cuisines.

Similar dishes: The Sweetbread Salad is reminiscent of other creamy salad dishes, such as chicken or tuna salad. However, the incorporation of sweetbreads adds a unique twist and elevates the flavor profile. If you enjoy the combination of creamy and crunchy elements in salads, dishes like Crab Salad, Lobster Salad, or even a classic Waldorf Salad may pique your interest. These salads all feature a creamy dressing and a combination of seafood or fruits with crunchy vegetables.

Whether you are a fan of sweetbreads or looking to try something new and exciting, the Sweetbread Salad is a fantastic option. Its combination of flavors, textures, and history makes it an intriguing and delectable dish to explore.



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